Juventus president Andrea Agnelli banned for one year over ticket touting
Juventus president Andrea Agnelli was banned for one year by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) on Monday for his role in selling tickets to ultra fans that encouraged touting, also known as scalping.
The FIGC also hit the Serie A champions with a €300,000 fine, but Juventus say they are confident they will be able to clear the club's name of any wrongdoing.
The affair saw a member of the 'Ndrangheta mafia mob, Rocco Dominello -- who has since been jailed for eight years -- obtain privileges from Agnelli, having met with him several times in person.
Agnelli claimed not to have known about Dominello's background, but he has nevertheless been found guilty of illicit behaviour in aiding one of the ultras' supporter's group leaders in obtaining tickets which were then sold on for profit on the black market, with the funds supporting the illegal mafia group.
Agnelli's solicitor said he will appeal, while the FIGC's prosecutor, Giuseppe Pecoraro, said he would appeal for a harsher sentence. Pecoraro had requested a two-and-a-half-year suspension, a fine and an order to force Juventus to play two home matches behind closed doors.
"I am partially satisfied because we managed to prove everyone's guilt but the facts are so serious that I think they should be punished more,'' Pecoraro told Italian news agency Ansa. "I think the judgment of another court would be useful, taking into account that the resources coming from the ticket [touting] went to a criminal organisation, and that is very serious.''
Juve announced shortly after the sentencing that they will be appealing the fine since they believe it has been proven that they did nothing wrong.
"Following today's verdict from the FIGC's National Tribunal, Juventus Football Club announces that it will lodge an appeal to the FIGC Court of Appeal in the firm belief that the club is in the right, a fact which is yet to be properly acknowledged," read a statement on the club's website.
"Despite the lengthy bans inflicted on the president and the other individuals involved, the club is nonetheless satisfied that today's ruling, 'after a careful examination of the evidence obtained' (page 11 of the ruling), completely rules out all possible links with organised crime.
"Juventus Football Club has faith in the sporting justice system and would like to once again stress that the club has always cooperated fully with the authorities in the interests of safety and public order."
Agnelli, who was only recently named chairman of the European Clubs Association (ECA), and confirmed on UEFA's Executive Committee, is forbidden from representing the Turin-based club in an official function, although he may still remain their nominal president for the duration of his ban.
His ban will only be extended to his role on UEFA's Executive Committee if the FIGC make a recommendation for that to happen.
Agnelli acknowledged meeting Dominello but said the meetings came only with large numbers of other fans at celebratory occasions and that the club never intended to engage in illegal activity.
Juventus security director Alessandro D'Angelo was also banned for 15 months while ticketing director Stefano Merulla and former marketing director Francesco Calvo have also been handed one-year suspensions.
Each of the four have also been fined €20,000 for violating sporting integrity and illicit relations with fans.
The 41-year-old Agnelli has led Juventus, the club his family have owned for nearly a century, since 2010. Dominello's father, Saverio Dominello, was sentenced to 12 years in prison by a court in Turin in June for his role in the touting case.
Anti-mafia prosecutors said the 'Ndrangheta was involved in touting among Juventus ultra fans for at least 15 years, guaranteeing order in the stadium in exchange for open ticket access.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.